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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £399
inc VAT

Exceptional photo and video quality, nippy performance and lots of creative control – as close to perfect as we've seen from a compact camera


1/1.7in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 3.8x zoom (24-90mm equivalent), 298g

The Panasonic LX7 is a pocket-sized camera for keen photographers, perhaps as a lightweight alternative to an SLR. Its 1/1.7in sensor is only slightly larger than the 1/2.3in sensors used in most compact cameras – and much smaller than any SLR sensor – but features such as a wide-aperture lens, fast performance and lots of physical controls distinguish this premium compact camera from cheaper point-and-shoot snappers.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7

In the last couple of years such cameras have struggled to compete with compact system cameras (CSCs), which offer the advantages of an SLR’s large sensor and interchangeable lenses in borderline-pocket-sized dimensions. However, if the LX7 is anything to go by, the demise of the premium compact camera is a long way off.

It’s not quite as slim as the Canon PowerShot S100 but smaller than our current favourite premium compact, the Fujifilm X10. The lens protrudes 20mm from the camera body when switched off and the lens cap adds another 4mm, but we were still able to fit it into jeans pockets – something that’s not so easy with even the slimmest CSCs. The slim rubber handgrip and contoured rear are just enough for a secure grip.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7

As with its predecessors, the LX7 has a switch on its lens for auto/macro/manual focus and another for aspect ratio. In most digital cameras this would mean simply cropping the image, but the LX7’s sensor is designed for multiple aspect ratios, so 16:9 photos are both shorter and wider than 4:3 ones. A 3:2 option is there too for those who like their photos to resemble an SLR’s output, and so too is 1:1 for Instagram fans.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7

The LX7 also has a lens-mounted control for setting the aperture. This harks back to the days before film cameras had batteries, and is a big boost to both the aesthetic charm and practical design. With aperture controlled on the lens and shutter speed on the rear dial, manual exposure control is extremely fluid. There’s another control for manual focus adjustment, but this rocker lever isn’t as quick to use as a dial or lens ring. Still, a momentary 5x digital magnification makes it possible to adjust the focus with confidence.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
The 3-stop ND filter let us use a two-second exposure to exaggerate motion blur in this shot – click to enlarge

Meanwhile, pushing the focus lever enables a three-stop neutral-density (ND) filter, which reduces incoming light by a factor of eight. This is perfect for slow shutter effects such as turning flowing water into wispy ethereal fibres. It’s also extremely useful for controlling motion blur in videos.

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Basic Specifications

Rating *****
CCD effective megapixels 10.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/1.7in
Viewfinder optional electronic
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 920,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 3.8x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 24-90mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 3,648×2,736
File formats JPEG, RAW; AVCHD, MPEG-4


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied 70MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 330 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB cable, neck strap
Weight 298g
Size 66x111x50mm

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £399

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 250 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/1.4-8 (wide) f/2.3-8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 6400
Exposure compensation +/-3 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, i.Dynamic
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, HDR, panorama, interval, multi-exposure